Embarrassing home video reignites fire for Swans
Crowd pleaser … Sydney's Tom Walsh celebrates with fans. Photo: Getty Images
NO pre-dawn icy dip at Coogee, no traipsing up and down the beach carrying house bricks, no push-ups on their bare knuckles on concrete. It was far less painful this time for the Swans.
While each of the aforementioned had been used to reignite the Swans in the past, all that was required last week to rebound from a humbling loss to Richmond was an embarrassing look at what they had dished out.
Their five-goal loss to the Tigers was poor viewing for the players, but they decided to respond and produced a clinical display to beat Melbourne by 101 points at the SCG on Saturday night.
''We were really filthy with ourselves,'' Ryan O'Keefe said. ''Any player with any pride, if they put up a bad performance, is embarrassed and filthy and dirty on themselves, and we all were after last week.
''There wasn't any special sessions, we just had to accept what we put out there, and look at what we served up last week and it was a bit of a reality check for us, and we realised it's time we have to do something about it.
''The good thing about footy is there is always next week to try and do something about it when you perform poorly, and there was a real burning inside the guys and we couldn't wait to get out and have a crack this weekend.''
Before the Richmond game, the Swans were cruising. They won their first five games, then lost by a kick to Adelaide. O'Keefe said perhaps the Richmond performance was the kick in the backside some needed. ''It was definitely grounding for us and sometimes you can get a little bit ahead of yourselves,'' he said.
Some will quibble a win over Melbourne at the moment is a little like beating a two-year-old at Scrabble. Still, you have to beat who is put in front of you, and the win was the Swans' first 100-plus victory at the SCG since August 2001, when they beat North Melbourne 22.11 (143) to 3.18 (36). O'Keefe - along with Jude Bolton - played in that game, too.
''In any game, regardless of what the scoreboard shows, it's about how you go about it and how you play,'' O'Keefe said. ''We were just proud we ticked off our key indicators and we can come away knowing we have improved from last week. Now we've got to step it up again.''
The Swans will head to Melbourne next Saturday to meet St Kilda at Etihad Stadium. While having won four of their past six at Etihad, it isn't the haunted house the MCG is for Sydney, but their success against the Saints there has not been as flash.
The Swans did win the last clash between the two clubs at Etihad in last season's elimination final, but before that you have to go back to round 1, 2000, the first time they played at the stadium.
O'Keefe believes it will be the usual close, tight contest. ''They are a quality outfit, and their core group is still the same, and they have still got guys like Lenny Hayes who really crack in hard,'' he said. ''It will be a fierce battle and that's what we are preparing for.''
O'Keefe has in recent weeks worked his way back into form and he was among Sydney's best on Saturday with team-high stats of 34 disposals, 17 contested possessions, and nine clearances playing in the midfield. He missed a chunk of the pre-season due to injury but feels he's back to his best.
''I missed six weeks of footy at the start of the year with the injury and it was really good to run around in the midfield and get back to where I was playing last year,'' he said.